Watchdog group: Close tax loopholes

Legal maneuvering costs state budget $503 million annually, activists say

Robyn Parker with Women Helping Others, concerned citizen Joel Dyar and Matt Tonge with Colorado Public Interest Research Group speak to the issue of tax shelters at city hall Tuesday.



Legal loopholes are costing the Colorado budget $503 million, the Colorado Public Interest Research Group said.

The practice of using loopholes to avoid taxation is “definitely legal,” spokesman Matt Tonge said. “And we think that’s the problem.”

The organization’s report, The Hidden Cost of Offshore Tax Havens, says that Colorado could have used money that otherwise would have been taxed in Colorado for a variety of purposes, from hiring 10,200 teachers to paying for the damage done in 2012 by wildfires. 
It also could have been used to reduce the state sales tax by about a quarter or reduce property taxes by a similar proportion, without loss of revenue, the organization said.

Tonge spoke Tuesday in front of Grand Junction City Hall with Robyn Parker of Women Helping Others, a Grand Valley organization.

Reduced tax revenues strike women and children disproportionately, Parker said.

In 2008, 83 of the top 100 publicly traded organizations used offshore tax havens, the organization said, adding that lost revenues included $310 million from corporations and $193 million from individuals.


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